Kirk Spencer is one of a number of on-the-rise producers in the UK. He’s carved out a niche all to himself by gluing together Eastern melodies and Western beats – his Asian-inspired Enter The Void EP was a critical hit, summoning enormous dubstep lurches and flighty percussion.
His second EP, Wonderland, dropped recently. It’s a trek through his own mind, an exploration into his own feelings of life and his home city – there’s considerably less bass wubberings, and instead of sonic precipices, we’re gifted smooth indie-house. The cultural fusions remain, and while some moments feel Bhangra-flecked, others careen towards US EDM. Whilst being actually rather intimate, Spencer succeeds in creating something with a pulsing soul that makes you want to get up and boogie down.
If 2012 was the year that guitar bands returned en masse into the charts and blogs, 2013 is set to be the comeback of the DJ. We’re not talking David Guetta here, more like Paul Oakenfold, classic Fatboy Slim and Darude invading the charts and causing a raucous rave ruckus. Here’s where Kirk Spencer scurries into the fray. His production skills were tested on his first EP, and with Wonderland, the Nottingham knob-twiddler is set to join the ranks of a swarm of electronic artists on the verge of hitting the big time. He’s proved he has the chops – it’s just a matter of time. We catch up with Kirk on his ascension to greatness to discuss dream shows, yoga music and the city of Nottingham.
How did you start making music? What inspired you?
Going back to the beginning: in the village where I grew up (Radcliffe in Nottingham) there were a couple of local teenage punk bands that inspired me to get a guitar and start a band – so I did with my best mates. The band was called Od Sox. The line up in this newly founded band changed over the years, and it ended up with my little brother of 10 on the drums. It was fun, we did a few gigs, and the band found the community recording studios in Nottingham, which is where I became interested in collaborating with other singers and rappers, and production. I started to learn production there and at home on my Mac. Then I found artists like Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke, and I knew from then it would be my goal to start making music that explored new sounds, but also had emotion and feeling.
What music did you grow up with?
My Mum and Dad’s music – CDs for yoga classes that my mum teaches, Pink Floyd, Ravi Shankar, Bob Marley and a great Levi Jeans Compilation CD. They are the ones I remember the most. Other than that, Spice Girls and 5ive was what I listened to.
What would you say are your biggest non-musical influences?
Which records or bands have influenced you the most?
Local peeps like Scorzayzee, Late Of The Pier, Illmana and Metaphi have been very influential in showing me what’s possible. Musically, Gold Panda, Flying Lotus, Nihal’s radio show, Friction’s radio show, Gilles Peterson’s radio show and, at the moment, Pink Floyd.
When did you decide to start creating music yourself, and what are your main aims for this project?
I’ve always been creating music for myself as it helps me escape from life’s problems. I still do it just for fun, as I have since I got my first guitar. I decided that I wanted to release my first EP at 18, but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I actually did. It doesn’t sound that great to me now, so part of me wishes I didn’t release anything so early, but people from all over the world still listen to that EP (Enter the Void).
The main aim is to create great music that sounds different, that takes you on a journey within your mind, and to have fun and stay musically innocent. To create honest music and push the boundaries with my sounds and live show – which I’m working on with Joe Le Huquet, one of my best friends who also did the ‘Kukcu‘ video.